The Bookseller – News – Madeleine Milburn mentorship scheme open submissions to under-represented writers

The Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency has opened submissions for its six-month writing mentorship, this year focusing on aspiring authors from underrepresented backgrounds.

Now in its third year, the 2022 program offers six slots in the scheme and, for the first time, all of them will be reserved for people from underrepresented backgrounds. This includes writers from ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ writers, disabled or neurodiverse writers, and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The program will be divided into two parts. The first half will take place as a series of online information sessions, delivered by publishers, agents, international rights, film and television professionals, along with authors. These sessions will take place over the course of six months and trainees will gain insight into the entire process of the industry. Sessions may include a conversation with an editor, insights into the book-to-film process, tips on selling books internationally, and panel discussions with agency authors.

The second part of the program will run simultaneously with the first, but without a fixed time limit. Each mentee will partner with an MM literary agent mentor and receive personalized editorial feedback on their manuscript. Each trainee will also receive guaranteed representation from an agent, and the agent will attempt to prepare the candidate’s manuscript for submission to publishers around the world.

The agency is looking for narratives with universal themes, that cast a “critical lens on society” or have something “new, fresh and interesting” to say.

Commercial, literary, thriller, historical, romance, book club, middle grade, and young adult fiction are encouraged, while narrative nonfiction, memoir, new perspectives in history, arts and culture, politics, economy, philosophy, psychology, nature and science. Unusual illustrated projects, cooking, or food writing are welcome in nonfiction.

“I am delighted with how far our previous trainees have come in recent years, and I look forward to welcoming a new group of writers to our agency,” said Madeleine Milburn, founder of the agency. “As an agency, we continue to champion writers from all walks of life and I am very excited to share that, for the first time, all places in this year’s mentoring scheme will be reserved for people from underrepresented backgrounds. We are very excited to meet and work with our future trainees, and to champion new voices around the world.”

Writers should send requests to [email protected], including an introduction in the body of their email, a two-page plot synopsis, and the first chapter of their manuscript. Entries must be received by 5:30 pm on July 31, 2022.

The manuscript must be the original work of the entrant, and must not have been self-published, published, or previously appeared in any commercial form, such as an anthology or magazine, and must be written in English (not translated).

The mentoring program is open to writers from around the world. Participants must be over 16 years of age and not be represented.

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